Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 4, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

5:00 pm
quorum call:
5:01 pm
mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, what is the parliamentary situation? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. leahy: i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, timothy s. hillman of massachusetts to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be 30 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form. mr. leahy: madam president, i
5:02 pm
would ask consent to insert my statement on the hillman nomination and judiciary nominations generally in the record as though read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i would ask to speak to, also within the time that is reserved for me, speak on another important subject as though in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, it's been more than a month since the senate came together to pass the violence against women reauthorization act of 2012. this bill commonly referred to as violence against women act reflects the tradition of bringing together the needs of both parties to respond to the needs of victims, all victims.
5:03 pm
more than two thirds of the senate including 15 republicans voted for this sequence legislation. it's a rare feat in the senate these days, as the distinguished presiding officer knows, but it demonstrates that the leahy-crapo reauthorization bill is about saving lives. it's not about partisan politics. i hoped the house republicans would follow our demonstration of bipartisanship by moving forward with the senate-passed vawa reauthorization bill. instead the leadership in the house, republican leadership chose to proceed with a bill that doesn't reflect the core values of vawa. i mention these core values because we worked, both parties, in this body to reflect what is most important in it. their bill, the house republican bill, does not include protection for all victims. it takes away existing protections that have proven effective in preventing domestic
5:04 pm
and sexual violence. the house bill is not vawa. regrettably, the house republican leadership would not even allow a vote on the bipartisan senate-passed bill which really does do the job. they would not allow open debate regarding the relative merits of the different versions of the bill. ours protects all victims, and theirs which rolls back protections. had the house had the opportunity to pass on the senate-passed bill, or vote on the senate-passed bill, i believe it would now be law and the president would have signed it. nearly two dozen house republicans, along with most democratic members, voted against restrictive house bill. and it's not surprising that the house republican leadership bill failed to gain support among those who actually worked with
5:05 pm
victims, the people who see these victims on a daily basis this all parts of the country. when challenged on the house floor to name any hraurplt or vic -- law enforcement or victim advocacy organization that supported the house republican bill, their lead sponsor couldn't name a single one. and why? 320 organizations -- more than 320 organizations that worked with the victims of domestic and sexual violence opposed that bill. by contrast, here in the senate more than 1,000 local, state and national organizations supported the bipartisan senate bill, including hundreds of law enforcement, victim advocates, faith-based groups. and why? because our bill -- we worked at it. we did it the old-fashioned way. republicans and democrats
5:06 pm
working together after months of discussion with stakeholders from across the country, and all political persuasions from the right to the left. the provisions in our bill that protect battered immigrant women, native women, and the most vulnerable among us have trouble accessing services were recommendations from those very professionals who work with crime victims every day. the bipartisan senate bill intended to respond to changing unmet needs of victims and to prevent future acts of domestic and sexual violence. instead of picking and choosing as they tried to, among who would get protection, we came up with a simple fact, madam president. we said a victim is a victim is a victim. if somebody has been vic
5:07 pm
taoeuplzed, you -- victimized you don't go and the police don't go and say, well, we could help this battered person, maybe even murdered person, we might get involved in this provided they're not an immigrant or provided they're not a native american or provided that they're straight. that's not the way it works. madam president, i still have nightmares over some of the crime scenes i visited 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning when i was a prosecutor. you would see people who had been badly battered, badly injured. i never heard a police officer say, well, before we go any further on this, what category does this battered victim fall into? because unless they fall into one of these specific categories that the house bill had, we can't do anything for them. no. no police officer ever said that in my presence nor in anybody
5:08 pm
else's presence. fortunately, the house republican leadership refused to consider two house bills that mirror the leahy-crapo bill, including one introduced by a republican. they also raised pcedural technicality as an excuse to avoid debating the senate bill even though the speaker of the house has the right to waive that technicality to allow the senate to move forward on the bipartisan senate bill. the majority leader tried to move us forward two weeks ago by proposing a way to resolve the technical objections by house republicans to consider the bipartisan senate-passed bill, but the republican leader objected. frankly, victims should not be forced to wait any longer. they have to wait longer, they're not going to benefit by improvements made by the bipartisan crapo-leahy bill
5:09 pm
unless both houses of congress vote to pass this legislation. the problems and barriers facing victims of domestic and sexual violence are too serious for congress to delay. domestic and sexual violence knows no political party. its victims are republican and democrat. its victims are republican and democrat, rich and poor, young and old. helping these victims -- all of them -- should be our goal. i'll continue to work with the leadership in the senate to come up with a solution that can move us pass this impasse and send back to the house a violence against women's act reauthorization bill that protects all victims. we know we can do that because the senate has already passed such a bill in the leahy-crapo bill. i'm hopeful the house will do
5:10 pm
the same. madam president, i ask consent that my full statement be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum and ask -- i'm sorry. i didn't realize we had others. i could hear a lot of loud discussion in the back. i didn't realize they wanted to speak on the floor too. so i yield the floor. a senator: madam president, may i inquire as to how much time is left for each side? the presiding officer: there are 15 minutes. mr. brown: 15 minutes per side? how much is left on the other side? the presiding officer: the majority has 6 1/2 minutes. mr. brown: thank you.
5:11 pm
mr. kerry: is this controlled time, madam president? the presiding officer: it is, 6 1/2 minutes is remaining. mr. kerry: i think the senator, my colleague, i believe is able to speak on republican time. we have 6 1/2 minutes. if he wants to go first, i'm happy to -- mr. brown: i'll defer to the senior senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: i thank my colleague, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: madam president, thank you very much. i thank my colleague for his courtesy. i'm perfectly happy to wait. i'm going to wait and listen to his comments anyway. we've got a little thing going on here back and forth. i want to thank chairman leahy for his work on the judiciary committee in helping to bring this nomination to the floor, and obviously senator brown and i are here together, having worked together to choose this nominee to send his name to the white house, and we're very
5:12 pm
grateful, both of us, to president obama for acting favorably on this nonpartisan recommendation which we made. we're grateful to the other members of the judiciary committee who approved the nomination that brought it to the floor expeditiously so we can fill a very important vacancy in massachusetts. i think both of us believe that the president could not have nominated a more qualified individual than judge hillman. he's already a judge, as we know. but a broad segment of the judicial community in massachusetts agrees with us completely. senator brown and i have agreed on a team made up of some of our top lawyers in the state who get together and screen these candidates before we even view them. this candidate comes with the endorsement of the massachusetts bar association, the worcester bar association, the hampden bar
5:13 pm
association and the backing of this nonpartisan search committee who gave us several names to evaluate, and we sat down and interviewed the judges. i think both of us are extremely pleased with the results of that. in judge hillman, we see what president obama has recognized, which is a thoughtful, fair, honest jurist who has a long record of public service, has counseled several municipalities in massachusetts and as a magistrate judge in worcester. madam president, there's not going to be any learning curve for judge hillman if he's confirmed by the senate this afternoon. he's serving on the district court of worcester would be an enormous capstone to his decades of tireless public service, and i know he will bring his signature brand of thoughtful deliberation to the worcester district, and i am very grateful
5:14 pm
for his many years of public service. we're very lucky to have, as the chair, the president of the senate knows, as a former governor who has made her own nominations, it's tough to get lawyers nowadays who are willing to give up the compensation of the private sector to come and work for very little in a tireless public way. and so i want to recognize judge hillman's family, his wife kay, his children zack, molly and patrick, for their contributions to his ability to be able to share his life in public service with all of us. i ask my colleagues to support his nomination this afternoon of judge timothy hillman to the united states district court of worcester, massachusetts. i yield to my colleague. mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. brown: i appreciate the senator from massachusetts, the senior senator, for setting up that process, we worked hand in
5:15 pm
hand to try to develop a nonpartisan, unbiased process. i, quite honestly, was deeply impressed with the way that we were able to handle it and get some really qualified candidates. john, it was good to work with you on that. i look forward to doing it again. i rise today also to endorse the nomination of judge timothy hillman to the u.s. district court of the district of massachusetts. as many of you know, when i was a young man, i had a run-in with the law and there was a judge named judge samuel zaul who set me straight and served as a role model for me. no doubt judge zaul served as a role model for many young men and women in massachusetts. my experience shows that the ability of judges to do good in their community is unsurpassed by many. today we are considering the nomination of a judge who will make worcester, massachusetts area a better place. i know that for a fact, as senator kerry pointed out. judge hillman is a man of
5:16 pm
integrity who will make us proud as the next federal judge in massachusetts. he will have a chance to shape young people's lives much like judge zau will for me. madam president, before i say a few words about judge hillman's background, i once again want to thank senator kerry. we have in place a process i would recommend to other senators so they can get good jurists in their own states. we worked very closely on that nomination. i want to also thank the judicial nominating committee that we comprised. we have, it was said, some of the most respected and experienced attorneys in massachusetts really trying to bring something, i think, very special to our state, and that's a balanced judiciary. the attorneys on the panel came from all walks of life in different areas of our state. the judicial nominating committees reviewed many applications and interviewed nearly every applicant, took their assignment very seriously. we are both deeply appreciative of their time and effort in that
5:17 pm
regard. ultimately, this bipartisan committee made several recommendations, and senator kerry and i have then interviewed each and every one of them. it was clear during his interview that we were immediately impressed by his poise and intellect. clearly, he understands the proper role of a judge and is deeply, deeply committed to achieving justice. in his interview, he lived up to his reputation as a thoughtful and thorough jurist with deep ties to the community which makes it even all that more fitting that he will remain in worcester to do good for the people of worcester. and they respect him as one of their own and trust him and trust that he will serve them well. since senator kerry and i recommended judge hillman to president obama, we have received an outpouring of support for judge hillman from worcester bar and its residents. we are both thankful for that. his legal background also makes him uniquely qualified for this position. he is currently a magistrate
5:18 pm
judge in worcester, massachusetts. in that role, he has been indispensable to the federal judiciary in massachusetts. if confirmed, he will seamlessly integrate with the other members of the district of massachusetts courts. the bar in worcester has a tremendous amount of confidence in him as both senator kerry and i do as well. they know that when they appear before the judge, they are going to get a fair shake and that he has a sharp legal mind. in addition to his role as magistrate judge, he generously gives a significant amount of his time to bar activities. for example, in 2008, in partnership with the united states probation office, judge hillman established a federal re-entry court program called restart for high-risk exoffenders who have been released from prison. judge hillman's goal in establishing restart was to reduce recidivism and focus on employment skills for exoffenders. judge hillman should be proud that only after a few years, restart is becoming a national model for re-entry courts, and for that we are also thankful.
5:19 pm
in 2009, he was appointed as the national cochair of a group of judges and support staff who are responsible for the design and implementation of the next generation of the federal courts case management and electronic filing system. prior to his service as a magistrate, he served as a trial court judge for 16 years. that's a state trial court judge. and before becoming a judge, judge hillman spent 14 years in private legal practice, giving that up, as senator kerry referenced, to do good public service. he served as town council to three towns also in massachusetts. so it's a rare find to find a nominee with the diversity of experience that judge hillman has. madam president, it will actually affect people in your state also who work in massachusetts, so i would encourage and seek your vote as well. and for that reason, he is a superb choice. so in closing, i enthusiastically support judge hillman's nomination as a federal judge. i'm going to be standing right up there encouraging each and
5:20 pm
every member of both sides of the aisle to try if we can't get him through almost unanimously. so i have had the opportunity to support a stellar candidate to the federal bench before and i'm excited to do it again. i want to thank you once again for the process. we have appointed two great judges to the bar back home and to the judicial bar. it's good for massachusetts. so i yield the floor and note an absence of a quorum. thank you. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
5:21 pm
5:22 pm
5:23 pm
5:24 pm
5:25 pm
5:26 pm
5:27 pm
5:28 pm
5:29 pm
5:30 pm
5:31 pm
5:32 pm
quorum call: 6 the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: i ask further proceedings under the quorum cal be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: i believe there's a vote due at this hour, is there not? i would ask for the yeas and nas with respect to the vote on jude hillhahn. the presiding officer hillhahn. -- judge hillman?
5:33 pm
the presiding officer: is therea sufficient second? there appears to be. mr. kerry: yes. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
5:36 pm
5:37 pm
5:38 pm
5:39 pm
5:40 pm
5:41 pm
5:42 pm
5:43 pm
5:44 pm
5:45 pm
vote: vote:
5:46 pm
5:47 pm
5:48 pm
5:49 pm
5:50 pm
5:51 pm
5:52 pm
5:53 pm
5:54 pm
5:55 pm
5:56 pm
5:57 pm
5:58 pm
5:59 pm
6:00 pm
6:01 pm
6:02 pm
6:03 pm
6:04 pm
6:05 pm
6:06 pm
6:07 pm
6:08 pm
6:09 pm
6:10 pm
6:11 pm
6:12 pm
6:13 pm
6:14 pm
6:15 pm
6:16 pm
6:17 pm
6:18 pm
6:19 pm
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 88, the nays are 1. the nomination is confirmed.
6:20 pm
under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is made and laid upon the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. the senator from ohio. mr. inhofe: would the senator from ohio yield for a unanimous consent request? mr. brown: certainly. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of the remarks of the senator from ohio that i be recognized as if in morning business for such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i am pleased to work with senator inhofe on this. thank you, madam president. 25 days the cost of attending college, a trade school, a university, a two-year community college will increase for some 380,000 students in my state of ohio. it's because without
6:21 pm
congressional action, something we have tried -- which we have tried to fix repeatedly on the floor of the united states senate, without congressional action, interest rates for stafford loans are scheduled to double on july 1. now, this was done five years ago bipartisanly that we were able to do this. president bush signed legislation for a democratic congress, democratic house, democratic senate to freeze interest rates on stafford subsidized loans for american college students for five years at 3.4%. that expires july 1 and it's something that we need to do, we have tried to do, it's repeatedly been batted down by threats of a filibuster. that's why today i met with students in toledo at owens community college. jackie, c.j. and megan all have dreams to attend first owens then move on to four-year institutions, but they rely on stafford loans to afford their
6:22 pm
tuition and other expenses. i have been to cuyahoga county community college meeting with students. i have been to hiram college visiting students there on their graduation day. i have been at cincinnati -- the university of cincinnati, been to ohio state. been to wright state university in dayton speaking to students. they understand if we don't act, then future college graduates will see an average of about a thousand dollars in extra interest fees for stafford student loans. my colleague, senator jack reed and the senator from rhode island, senator harkin and i have introduced the stop the student loan interest rate hike which would keep college affordable for more students. the act is fully paid for by closing a corporate tax loophole. we want to pay for this. we don't want to add to this debt for college students, we don't want to add to their personal debt by allowing the 3.4% interest rates to double.
6:23 pm
i would like to make this more personal, if i could, mr. president, and lead some letters from students in ohio schools, students and families. it affects the student personally, of course, these higher interest rates. it also affects the family. also they are helping pay for this college tuition in many cases. it affects the community. we know by going back to the 1940's and 1950's and 1960's and 1970's, the g.i. bill enabled literally millions of college students, millions of young americans who had fought for their country in either world war ii or korea or successive military involvement to allow them to go to school and to afford their college tuition. what that meant, madam president, was not just helping those students and their families. it helped to raise the level of prosperity for the entire country because those were students that came -- those were
6:24 pm
people that got to go to school. it meant that they could start businesses and buy homes and get better jobs and give back a lot to our communities. that's the same thing that will happen if we could lock these interest rates, 3.4% interest rates in. it will mean students who might not have been able to buy a car or might not have been able to start a business or might not have -- might have been more reluctant to start a family, that they are less likely to do that if we can't lock these interest rates in. madam president, before turning it over to senator inhofe, i would like to share three letters that i received -- my office received recently, starting with k.c. from union. going to college was not a question for me. there was an unspoken understanding that would happen. unfortunately, my parents couldn't afford to pay for all of their children, particularly after we faced foreclosure in 2007. i faced responsibility at age 17 for covering the $10,000
6:25 pm
per-year gap of paying for george washington university. over the past four years, i have taken the the maximum allowed in student loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. i have held a federal work study job since october of my freshman year because both of my parents were unemployed at the time, i was forced to take out plus loans. this left me with a gap. i had to ask my parents to spend a significant portion of their retirement fund to allow me to finish my degree. at 21 years old, i have $42,000 in loans to repay. i have received a world-class education, thanks to the opportunities provided to me by my scholarships, my student loans, by pell grants, by work study programs. students should not be punished for following the american dream. there is a huge emphasis on the importance of education, but the soaring costs of private and public universities is making it harder and harder for my generation. doubling the interest rates on loans is not the solution. making education harder to pay for will shut down for -- shut
6:26 pm
doors for students like me and college will inch back toward being a privilege for the wealthy. i have worked part time since i was 15. i did well in high school. i was able to win a scholarship. i maintained my grades in college. to keep that scholarship, i have taken advantage of work study programs. i have every intention of paying back my student loans in full as i enter the world of full-time employment. please don't make it harder to pursue the american dream. wayland from fairborn, greene county near springfield, the city of xenia is nearby outside of dayton. i'm deeply concerned about the thought of an increase in student loan interest. i'm currently a student at antioch university midwest taking classes to pursue my license to become an interventionallist specialist. i have two children who are finishing up their sophomore years in college at the end of may. my sons as i do have student loan debt. an increase in the rates would have a diminishing effect on affording the already high
6:27 pm
college tuition rate itself. hasn't there been a big push for people in our country to become more educated, equating to a more successful and competitive country? how will this ever be obtained without affordable education? gaining higher, more competitively paying jobs would also equate to more taxes being paid. isn't that what we should be looking at? i believe there is a disconnect between what people in washington want, a more educated country and how they're willing to get it. and sara also from dayton writes i started college in 2003. as a foster youth fresh from emancipation, i took out student loans because i don't have any family that can help me pay for college. nine years, two bachelor of arts degrees, one in criminal justice, the other in education, and an almost complete master of arts degree, not only am i 100,000 in debt, i am still unable to find a job. since i am overqualified for jobs at places like mcdonald's who take one look at my application and reject it and underqualified for positions using either of my degrees, i am
6:28 pm
forced to look outside of ohio for jobs that will allow me to at least use my one to two years of secretary experience so that i have a salary to start paying on these loans. my student loans hinder not only my ability to possibly finish my master's degree but also to potentially purchase a home and find a position near my family. when i graduate, i will not be able to move back home so i will have to find a position outside what i went to school for and probably for minimum salary or even minimum wage just so i do not end up homeless. i may have to look overseas to find work. i hope the government will see stories like mine for people who have risen above their circumstances, are able to go t college to make their lives better and not be statistics and actually do something to help us. madam president, i think these stories, obviously, speak for themselves. we are leaving our children -- we're certainly leaving them with far too much debt. ten years ago, we had a budget surplus until this government, the house and senate and the
6:29 pm
president in the last decade made terrible mistakes and blew a hole in the federal budget. we don't want to leave them also the debt, increased debt for student loans because when i graduated from college 35 years ago and my wife graduated, my wife was the first in her family to go to college to kent state university, she graduated with almost no debt. even though she -- her family really wasn't able to help her much because state government was more involved, federal government was more involved and tuition was lower, and we have -- it's a moral question to me to -- to make sure we can freeze these interest rates, we have no business saddling more debt, a more onerous debt burden on the young men and women in our country. madam president, i yield the floor. pp.
6:30 pm
the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask the help committee be discharged from further consideration of s. con. res. 462 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 462, recognizing national foster care month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges faced by children in the foster care system, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. brown: madam president, i further ask the resolution be agreed, to the preamble be agred to, the motio -- motion to reconsider be laid on the table without any intervening action r debate and any statements be placed at the appropriate place in the record as if given. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown brown: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, te senate adjourn until 10:00 a.m. on tuesday, june 5. that following the prayer and pledge, the journally proceedins be approved to date, the morning hour be expired, the time for te two leaders be reserved for ther
6:31 pm
use later in the day, the majority leader be recognized ad that following the remarks of te majority leader and those of the republican leader, the time untl 12:30 p.m. be equally divided ad controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the republicans controlling the second 30 minutes. further, that the senate recess from 12:30 p.m. tomorrow until 2:15 tomorrow to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: finally, madam president, it's the majority leader's intention to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 3220, te paycheck fairness act, when the senate convenes tomorrow at 2:1, there will be a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the paycheck fairness bill. and madam president, if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that adjourn under the previous order following the remarks of the senior senator from oklahoma, senator inhofe. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: first of all, let me thank the senator from ohio for allowing notice interrupt him fr my unanimous consent -- allowing
6:32 pm
me to interrupt him for my unanimous consent request. this month the united states senate will have the opportunity to put a stop to the secondmost expensive e.p.a. regulation in history, the rule known as utility mact -- it's kind of confusing. let me kind of share with you what it means. mact -- and you bet learn it now because you're going to hear it more and more -- it's m-a-c-t. that means maximum achievable control technology. in other words, the e.p.a. comes along and makes a regulation where there is no technology tht will accommodate the -- th the -- the rule. so that's what it's all about ad that's why the obama e.p.a. cals it, so that people won't know what it is and how much it cost. it's the first step -- we're talking about utility mact -- it's the first step to kill coal in the united states. right now we in this country depend upon coal for 50% of our
6:33 pm
electricity and -- and you can just imagine what will happen to your energy costs as well as millions of lost jobs. i've introduced a resolution to kill it. by voting for my resolution, s.j.r.37, members of the senate can prevent the obama e.p.a. frm causing so much economic pain fr american families. it requires only a majority vote in the senate and the house and it would have to be signed by te president. people would say, well, why woud the senate sign a bill that woud stop his e.p.a. from overregular laying. i would suggest to you, madam president, that at the -- right before an election, he doesn't want to go on record as causing that many job losses. and -- and that much damage to our economy. so the utility mact is the centerpiece of president obama's effort to kill coal. utility mact is specifically designed to close down existing coal plants while the obama e.p.a.'s greenhouse gas regulations are specifically
6:34 pm
designed to prevent any new coal plants from being built. so they want to shut down the coal plants that are there now and prevent new coal plants from being built. keep in mind, 50% of our energy comes from coal. the goal behind these policies s not surprising, but what is surprising is that while president obama goes around pretending to be for an all-of-the-approach on energy -- and let's make sure we understad what that is. an all-of-the-above approach was the republicans' idea. it was, we're for all of the above. we're for nuclear energy, we're for fossil fuels, coal, gas, o oil, renewables, everything else. so that's what all of the above means. so the president's been saying that he is for an all-of-the-above approach on energy while members of his gren team administration just can't help but tell the truth about what's really going on in the e.p.a. madam president, you remember several weeks ago i came to the
6:35 pm
senate floor to bring attention to a video of e.p.a. regional 6 administrator al armendaras admitting that the e.p.a.'s general philosophy is to crucify and make examples of oil and gas companies. now, we remember that, don't we? he had said, and it was on a video, his voice with himself speaking, to a group of people, including giving advice to those who were subordinates to him. he said, you got to do what the romans did years ago when they'd go around the mediterranean, they'd go into the different countries and -- in turkey and they would crucify the first fie people that they would see and left them to a cross dangling to die in order to get them to submit to him. well, today i'd like to highligt another video. it's a video that e.p.a. regionl 1 administrator, kirk spalding,
6:36 pm
admitted that the obama e.p.a. consciously and deliberately mae the choice to wage war on coal. now, i'm going to quote exactly what he said so everyone can hae the full effect of it. and this is a quote. he said "but know right now we are struggling. we are struggling. we're struggling because we're trying to do our jobs. lisa jackson has put forward a very powerful message to the country just two days ago. the decision on greenhouse gas performance standard and saying that basically gas plants are te performance standard, which meas if you want to build a coal plat , you got a big problem. that was a huge decision. you can't imagine how tough it is" -- i'm still quoting kirk spalding -- "you can't imagine how tough that was because you'e got to remember that if you go o west virginia, pennsylvania and all those places, you have coal
6:37 pm
communities who depend on coal. and to say that we just think those communities can just go away, we can't do that. but she had to do what the law and the policy suggested and its painful, it's painful every step of the way." again, i'm quoting the region 1 administrator, kirk spalding, in a statement that he made. that's an exact quote. let me repeat the key part of administrator spalding's quote just for emphasis. he said -- quote -- "if you want to build a coal planted -- a coal plant, you got a big problem. " even more stun, he's admitting that the obama e.p.a. decision o kill coal was painful every step of the way because west virgini, pennsylvania and all the coal states depend on coal developmet for their jobs, their livelihoods. i had occasion to be in west virginia and in ohio and see and speak face to face with people who are third, fourth generation workers in the coal mines.
6:38 pm
those people are scared to death that coal would be killed. and here it is in front of us right now. they're going to coal -- kill coal anyway. trust me, administrator spalding and president obama, it's far more painful for those who will lose their jobs and have to pay skyrocketing electricity prices than it will be for you. spalding's statement that -- quote -- "if you want to build a coal plant you've got a big problem" reminds us a lot of president obama's own statement about coal in 2008 when he wasnt so afraid to explain his real intentions. remember he said -- and this isa quote by -- by the presiden president -- r -- in 2008. he said -- quote -- "if you want to build a coal-fired power plant, you can. it's just that it will bankrupt you." that was 2008. sure enough, he's bringing that to a reality. he's making every effort. of course, this war on coal coms from the same administration tht put the crucify them administrator armendaras in
6:39 pm
charge of the biggest oil and gs producing region in the country. in fact, e.p.a.'s crucifixion philosophy is so obvious now tht even the somewhat left-leaning "washington post" said that the obama e.p.a. is -- quote -- "earning a reputation for abuse." but i think kim strasso of the "wall street journal" put it bet when she said that armendaras was -- quote -- "a perfect general for mr. obama's war against natural gas and on the front lines of president obama's battle to end fossil fuels and affordable energy." at this most recent video of -- of region 1 administrator spalding confirms, there are plenty of green generals like armendaras going into battle for the -- for the obama e.p.a. we have several more videos of e.p.a. officials making similar statements, but i'm not going to talk about them tonight. i will talk about those at a later date. because today, i would like to focus my remarks specifically on
6:40 pm
president obama's war on coal ad what members of this body will choose to do about it. the fundamental question before the united states senate will be whether my colleagues will have the courage to stand up to th the -- to president obama and pt the brakes on his abusive, out-of-control e.p.a. that has openly admitted -- quote -- "if you want to build a coal plant, you've got a big problem." or if they're going to stand wih president obama and his administration's crucify agenda. one of the most interesting and telling aspects of president obama's disingenuous attempt to rebrand himself as a supporter f fossil fuels is that he never mentions coal. he doesn't even pretend. in fact, up until very recently, president obama's campaign web site had a section devoted to te president's goals for every energy resource except coal. only after facing intense criticism and disappointing primary results in coal state
6:41 pm
states -- who had just happened recently, i think we're all awae of that -- the obama campaign attempted quietly to end a clean coal section to its site. well, apparently president obama's definition of clean coal is no coal. in his 2013 budget request, the president cut funding for coal research and development at the national energy technology lab y nearly 30%. this is at the same time e.p.a. has proposed greenhouse gas standards for coal-fired power plants that require carbon capture and sequestration. we refer to that as c.c.s. it's a technology that is not ready to operate on a commercial scale. so on one hand, we have obama issuing standards in which utilities can't comply without using c.c.s. on the other hand, we have him hand capping that very technology. in other words, what he's saying is we have emissions standards for coal technology where there
6:42 pm
is no technology there. there's standards required for emissions where there is no technology that will -- that wil accommodate that request. now, we're going to see it in other areas too but this is coal and i'm concentrating just on coal tonight. after cap and trade was thoroughly rejected by the american people and defeated ina democratic-controlled congress, president obama promised that he wouldn't give up in his efforts to stop coal development. he also said -- quote -- "cap ad trade was just one way of skinning the cat. it was a means, not an end. i'm going to be looking for othr means to address this problem." and he has found other ways to skin the cat by imposing regulations that have exactly te same effect of killing coal. i don't have time to go into every action e.p.a. is taking bt i would like to highlight a few of the key coal-killing regulations. front and center, of course, is utility mact. utility mact, it's a rule with such strict standards, they cant
6:43 pm
be met, which means that along with e.p.a.'s other air rules, p to 20% of america's coal-fire capacity will be shuttered and around 1.6 million jobs will be lost. that's initially. now, you carry that on through, considering that the supply -- coal supplies 50% of our energy in this country -- it's going to far exceed that. but starting off with 60% of america's coal-fire capacity wil be shut down. utility mact's price tag is second only to the obama e.p.a.s greenhouse gas regulations, whih are designed to prevent any new coal plants from being built in this country. like the waxman-markey cap and trade bill, these regulations will cost $300 billion to $400 billion a year and destroy over 2 million jobs and may even cost more if the courts throw out the e.p.a.'s tailoring rule. it kind of gets into the weeds, it's a little bit complicated, but the -- what they're attempting to do would be to do
6:44 pm
through regulations what they were unable to do through legislation. we had several bills over a 12-year period to try to impose cap and trade. well, that cap and trade cost would be $300 billion to $400 billion. and the tailoring rule is one where if they do it through regulation, i'm talking about te e.p.a. doing the same thing, impose cap and trade on the american people, it's not going to cost just $300 billion to $40 billion a year, it's going to be far more, because it's going to have to reach the standards of the clean air act. and that would be regulating those emitters with -- with 250,000 tons of emissions a year. that would be every school, evey church, every restaurant, every coffee shop would now have to be regulated, put out of business y the e.p.a. e.p.a. is also waging a -- this war on permitting, on the permitting front, and this is a problem that we've been tracking for a long period of time. i think a lot of people recognie
6:45 pm
that when e.p.a. -- when the obama e.p.a. was trying to shutter down the gulf -- shut down the gulf, they were saying all right, we're not going to do it because of public pressure. however, then they refused to issue the permits. as my e.p.w. minority report frm january 2010 showed, e.p.a. at that time was obstructing 190 coal mining permits, putting nearly 18,000 jobs at risk. this was two years ago, two anda half years ago, and not much has improved since then. last november a report by the office of the inspector general confirmed that e.p.a. through its own actions has been deliberately and systematically slowing the pace of permit evaluations for new plants in appalachia. these findings were concerning enough that inspector general did a follow-up review and agai in february of this year -- this is two years later -- the office of the inspector general found that the e.p.a. did not have a
6:46 pm
consistent efficientl official record-keeping system. not only is e.p.a. continuing to stall the permitting process, they are trying to stop permits that have already been granted. in january -- this is rather significant. in january of 2011, the e.p.a. took the step of revoking a lawfully issued mining permit to the -- that the bush army corps of engineers had granted to spruce mine. it is a project in ap appalachi. on march 23, 2012, the u.s. district court ruled that e.p.a. exceeded its authority and as the judge said, e.p.a.'s claim that it can veto a permit already issued by the army corps of engineers is a stunning power for an agency to arrogate
6:47 pm
itself. that's a quote by a federal judge. after four years of this barrage of rules designed to kill coal, many in the heartland states that rely most heavily on coal are not amused. just last month 24 states attorneys general including one quarter of all democrat attorney generals, filed a suit to overturn utility mact. to overturn this because of the devastating effects it will have on jobs in their states and their economies. these are democrats from arkansas, kentucky, mississippi, missouri, west virginia, and wyoming. in other words, it appears that democrat a. g.e.'s are trying to -- a.g.'s are trying to save coal while the democrat senators from those same states are carrying out president obama's war on coal. least being let's look at what's happening in west virginia. the state government just sponsored a three-day forum last
6:48 pm
week on e.p.a.'s war on coal. this is west virginia. larry puccio, the democrat party chairman of west virginia -- quote -- "a lot of folks here have real frustration with this administration's stance on coal and energy." also recently on a west virginia radio show, cecil roberts, the president of the uinto thed mine workers of america, said on that show that e.p.a. administrator lisa jackson -- quote -- "shot the coal industry in washington just as the navy seals shot bin laden." as roberts expanded, quote, "we have been placed in a horrendous position here. how do you take coal miner's money and say, let's use it politically to support someone who e.p.a. has pretty much said 'you're done? '" it doesn't get any stronger
6:49 pm
than that. these are all democrats. let's not foaght that west virginia i is the state where president obama lost several primaries to a convicted felon not long ago. kentucky -- they're also weighing in. as "politico" reported, president obama lost an uncommitted vote in 38 counties representing the kentucky coal coalition. and won just 44% over 49,000 -- of over 49,000 votes. he only carried 14 of the 38 coal counties and overall carried the state as a whole with just 58% of the vote. in arkansas, president obama won a primary with less than 50e6% of the vote. in iaea it is the same story -- in ohio it is the same story. when vice president biden visited the state recently, he was faced with over 100 workers who will lose their jobs because of this administration's aggressive regulatory regime.
6:50 pm
their message to the obama administration is to stop the war on coal. these states have good reason to be concerned. let's take a look at how utility mact will impact some of the most coal-dependent states. arkansas -- 40% of electricity produced by coal. louisiana -- ninth-cheapest electricity in the nation. $100 billion in payroll. michigan -- 60% of electricity produced by coal. tenth in the coal used. mo -- this is a big one here. missouri -- 80% of the electricity is produced by coal. sixth in the coal use. montana -- 60% of its electricity, fifth in coal production. north dakota -- 85% of electricity is produced by coal, ninth in the coal production. ohio -- it's a big one; 85% of electricity, more than 19,000 jobs are at stake. just because of this utility mact that we're looking at. pennsylvania -- 52% of the
6:51 pm
electricity produced by coal. fifth in coal use. tennessee -- 62% of electricity. virginia, more than 31,000 jobs, 13th in coal production. west virginia -- second in coal production, more than 80,000 jobs. these are real jobs that will be lost state by state. that's how this is a big deal. i'd like to take a moment to go into detail as to why utility mact would be so devastating. just put this rule in pe perspective. even democrat representative john dingell, i served with him over in the house years ago, he was the author of the clean air act amendments. he said utility mact is -- quote -- "unparalleled in its size and scope and it presents a set of new regulations with possible wide-reaching impacts by the way our country generates and consumes electricity." that's john dingell over in the house of representatives, a
6:52 pm
democrat. utility mact as ankh precedented price tag. e.p.a. puts the cost at nearly $10 million a year. that's interesting because no one else is no low. its -- other sources project it will cost considerably more making it the second-most expensive rule in the agency's history. this is second to only global warming and cap and trade. can you believe it? this chasm increase would cost the -- this tax increase would cost the average -- i did some calculating. i always do it because in my state of oklahoma when we start talking about billions and trillions of dollars, i like to see how is this going to affect our families. a $300 billion to $400 billion tax increase, wheys it would have been if they had been successful in passing cap-and-trade d cap and trade and what it will be if they do it by regulation, can you believe it, this tax increase will cost the average family in my state of oklahoma over $30,000 a year. of course you don't get anything
6:53 pm
for it. even lisa jackson, obama's administrator of the e.p.a., admitted that if you pass cap and trade, it is not going to reduce our overall emissions because the problem isn't here in the united states. it's in mexico, it's in china, it's in other countries around the world. now, the utility mact we're talking about today would tax each family over and above cap and trade. further, the rule will shut down 20% of america's coal-fired power capacity. this will inevitably result in higher electricity prices for every american. simply put, it's a supply-and-demand situation. i think we all understand that. i don't think there is a person who is within earshot of me anyway that didn't learn back in grade school, elementary school what supply and demand means. it means if you shut down the coal plants, the energy that's remain something going to cost a lot more. it is not just me saying this,
6:54 pm
as "the chicago tribune" reported on may 18, they said, "in 2015, electric bills are set to be about $130 more than they are today." now, i'm talking to everyone out there who has electricity. the electric bills are set to be about that much more. "the chicago tribune" went on to say that prices have already significantly risen in the heartlanheartland. "prices were hiring in north ohio and the mid-atlantic region at $357 per megawatt ands 167 per megawatt respectively." let's look at jobs. utility mact and other e.p.a. regulations on the electric power sec tissue have rultded in 27,000 megawatts watts of power plant retirements in the united states. utility mact will destroy
6:55 pm
between 108,000 and 1 215,000 js in 2015. with others, the e.p.a. regulations on electric power sector, the economy stands to lose approximately 1.65 million jobs by 2020. the manufacturers will be particularly hard hit due to their reliance on low-cost electricity, because of their dependence on natural gas as a raw material. as both electricity rates and natural gas prices increase. according to new core steel, a 1% increase in electricity rate will cost the firm $120 million. these extra costs will endanger a million manufacturing jobs outside of the coal and utility industries. utility mact will also have the negative ripple effect. just to bring up one example, in avon lake, ohio, the closure of a local gen-on power plant will
6:56 pm
cost the school system 11% of its budget annually. besides the 80 high-quality jobs lost at the plant and many indirect job losses in the community, the city will have fewer resources for its paramedics, schools, and everything else. the story will be replicated in communities across the country. just a couple of myths about this. people say it's not surprising that instead of taking credit for the tir dire results of this coal-killing agenda in an election year, the obama administration is claiming that lower natural gas prices are the reasoning utilities are switching from coal to natural gas. absolutely wrong. there's one problem with it. while president obama poses in front of the pipelines in my state of oklahoma pretending to be a friend of oil and natural gas, is giving marching ordering to his administration do everything possible to end the hydraulic fracturing. get back in the weeds a little bit here.
6:57 pm
rye hydraulic fracturing is a process used to get oil and gas out of tight formations. you can't get one cubic foot of natural gas out of the a tight formation without using hydraulic fracturing. that process i'm pretty familiar with, madam president, because that was started in my state of oklahoma. way back in 1949. there's never been a documented case of groundwater contamination by using hydraulic fracturing. this is what he is trying do is kill the oil and gas by doing away with the hydraulic fracturing. rerks i mentioned earlier armendariz, the only one caught on fap tape admitting that the e.p.a. philosophy was to crucify, make examples of oil and gas companies, targeting hydraulic fracturing. if the crucifix sta scandal is enough of a revelation on this war on natural gas, remember that the sierra club, which recently gave the president its most enthusiastic endorse oment,
6:58 pm
just road out its knew -- rolled out its newest campaign called "beyond gas," a spinoff of its decade-old campaign "beyond coal." it was ten years ago that the sierra club talked about "beyond coal." as sierra club executive director michael brune explained, "as we push to retire coal plants, we are going to work to make sure we're not simultaneously switching to natural gas infrastructure. if we're going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can." so it's not just coal. they're -- it's coal and all the other fossil fuels. those people who think we're going to promote natural gas, which they're not doing because they're trying to stop high drawrlic fracturing -- it may have taken nancy pelosi six months to recognize that natural
6:59 pm
gas was a fossil fuels. natural gas supplies may be plentiful but the obama administration has crucified them. the agenda is designed to change that. it's whole purpose is to decrease access to these resources through increased regulations from the federal government. another myth is the public health myth. i'd like to address that because that's being perpetrated by utility mact proponents which has to do with the -- their public health argument. the truths is that the health benefits e.p.a. claims are exaggerateexaggerateeds and mis, that's because it shows that over the 9% of the benefits of the rule -- we're talking about a utility mact rule -- 99% of those benefits come from reducing fine, particulate matter, not air toxins. of course fine particulate matter is already regulated under the national am beenair quailt standards and in fact 90% of utility mact's reported
7:00 pm
particulate matter benefits occur in air already deemed safe by the naaqs program. not only has e.p.a. doubled miscounting benefits, it has also dismally failed the cost-benefit test. the agency it was admits utility mact will cost an unprecedented $10 billion to implement. we think it's tpw-g to be more than twice that but they say $10 billion. it also admits the $10 billion in cost will yield a mere $6 million in direct benefits. that means the e.p.a.'s own statement, they admit that e.p.a.'s best-case scenario yields a ludicrous cost-benefit ratio of 1,600 to 1. in reality utility mact will harm the public by increasing unemployment by a well-established risk factor for elevated illness and morality -- mortality rates. in addition to influences on
7:01 pm
mental disorders, suicide, alcoholism, employment is also a risk factor in cardio vascular disease. higher electric bills act like a regressive tax hurting the poor and elderly most by diverting funds that they would otherwise have to have for food, rent and medical care to pay for more expensive electricity. to be sure, those who won't feel any of this economic pain are president obama's hollywood elites. i know my environmental friends are saying they're already accusing me of allowing mercury going into the air, so today i would like to remind them that it was republicans who first put forth a real plan to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. in 2002, in 2003 republicans were in the majority. i at that time was the chairman of the committee, that had regulation over the air, and we
7:02 pm
were working to pass the clear skies bill, which was the most aggressive initiative in history to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and mercury. this bill would have reduced mercury emissions by 70% by 2018. in six years from now, we would already have had a 70% reduction in what i call real pollutant sox, knox and mercury. what happened? why did it fail? it failed because they wanted to include greenhouse gases. they wanted to include co2 and at the expense of losing those reductions that were mandated in sox, knox and mercury, they said we can't have co2. we don't want it at all. so why did clear skies fail in 2005? then-senator obama served with me in the senate committee on environment and public works, and it was his vote that killed the bill. as senator obama himself
7:03 pm
admitted -- and i'm quoting now -- i voted against the clear skies bill. in fact, i was the deciding vote despite the fact that i'm a coal state -- he represented illinois at that time. "i'm a coal state and that half of my state thought i thoroughly betrayed them because i thought clean air was critical and global warming was critical. " that was the then-senator barack obama. clear skies apparently didn't cause enough economic pain. it reduced real pollutants. it didn't address president obama's pet cause of climate change. it did not achieve the goal they really want to impose. that is ending coal. so now instead of having a reasonable and effective mercury-reduction plan already in place and working for the american people, president obama wants to implement e.p.a.'s utility mact in order to kill coal. the bottom line is that we still need coal, and all of those who dream of doing away with it will
7:04 pm
not be able to escape the reality that coal will continue to provide much of our electricity for the forseeable tpou tour. we need -- future. we need to be implementing policies that improve air quality without destroying coal and good american jobs and imposing skyrocketing electricity costs on every american. that's why my resolution to stop utility mact is so crucial. contrary to what critics are saying, this resolution does not prevent the e.p.a. from regulating mercury under the clean air act. it simply requires the e.p.a. go back to the drawing board to craft a rule in which utilities can actually imply, a rule that does not threaten to end the coal in america and american generation, but helps utilities to reduce emissions without having to shut their doors. the house led by congressman tpr*ed upton passed a bipartisan
7:05 pm
legislation to rein in utility mact with 19 democrats supporting the measure. now it's time for the senate to act. i'd like to remind my colleagues that this resolution will likely be the vote on coal for the year, so this is our chance, our one chance. many of my democrat colleagues have gone on record saying they want to rein in the obama e.p.a. the senior senator from missouri is one of them. she said back home that she is determined to hold the line on the e.p.a. does that mean she and other senate democrats who have made similar statements will vote to stop the centerpiece of obama's war on coal? apparently not. today i've talked a lot about utility mact. to be sure we understand what it means one more time, utility mact is a rule by the e.p.a. to end coal in america and cause electricity rates to skyrocket. that was a statement that even the president said the electric rates would skyrocket. my resolution, s.j.r.37, will
7:06 pm
allow elected members of the senate to stop the obama e.p.a. it's as simple as that. i can remember when we passed the c.r.a., the congressional review act. it was really kind of interesting because the congressional review act was one recognized that sometimes the out-of-e.p.a.'s and other parts of the administration, and so if it's something where you get a simple majority of members saying this is outrageous, we need to stop it, we can do it by passing a c.r.a., congressional review act. that is what s.j.r. 37 is and our only chance to stop it. a vote on my resolution would demonstrate to the american people which senators will hold on and stand with their constituents for jobs, affordable energy, and which senators want to kill coal in favor of president obama's radical global warming agenda that will be devastating to people. to borrow a phrase from
7:07 pm
administrator spalding, to choose the latter will be painful, painful every step of the way for their constituents. i hope they make the right choice. again, i just repeat, this is the last chance you have to stop the administration from killing coal. this is the vote of the year in terms of the efforts to stop the killing of coal. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to withhold the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
7:08 pm
niels lesniewski is "congressional quarterly" senate watch editor. senate majority leader harry reid has gathered a procedural vote dealing with gender-based pay discrimination. what would the bill do and what should we expect as the outcome as lawmakers go to vote? >> well, the bill largely speaking would provide new tools for women who believe they have been victims of gender-based pay discrimination. one of the specific components of the measure, which could affect a lot of people is that would prohibit employers generally from penalizing
7:09 pm
employees or disclosing information about their salaries or perhaps inquiring about the salaries of their co-workers. as for the boat itself, it is not expected to prevail. it's a procedural vote on taking up the bill that we have seen on both sides that it's not going to get to the 60 votes needed on tuesday. >> why a senator reid pushing forward with it? >> well, from sea -- that has been put on from the white house and from senate leadership it looks like this is largely an election-year item and we have seen that there are people calling on governor romney, the presumptive republican nominee, to take a stand on the issue and they also want to put some -- the democrats also want to put some republican vulnerable
7:10 pm
states up for re-election in a tough spot with this faux. >> so who is supporting this bill and why are they saying it's necessary? >> the supporters are senate democrats in this case barbour mccaul's become the senator from maryland, the longest-serving woman in the senate and they say that the lilly ledbetter act, which was one of the first items of legislation that became law under president obama, only really addressed a narrow legal question about the statute of limitations for gender-based pay discrimination and with a broader measure needed to bring the rate of pay up to where men are. >> and who is opposed to the measure and can you briefly tell us what please and where you
7:11 pm
would necessarily think me to go so that men and women earn the same amount of money. there are some concerns about possible litigation costs that could arise as a result of this as well. >> senate republicans say they have their own bill. how does this differ from the democrats measure? >> we haven't honestly seen all that in any detail with the republican county -- counterproposal might be partly because this is a procedural vote on tuesday, we don't expect that they will actually be able to bring a counterproposal to the floor. >> so, what impact might this issue have as the campaign season gets into full swing? >> well, we have been seeing democrats for the last couple of months really promoting and narrative about a war on women, trying to ensure that the female
7:12 pm
vote which traditionally votes democratic, continues to and sort of boxing governor romney and the others and on in on that sort of issue. this is another step in that process than i've would not the surprised to see more of those. >> niels lesniewski is "congressional quarterly" senate watch editor. you can read him at "cq".com. thanks again for joining us. >> the ftc is primarily an important industry and has brought many good -- into the consumer privacy area and has resettlement with a lot of companies about some of the privacy promises that they made to consumers. i think self-regulation is a tool that can be much more responsive to changes in the marketplace. in a quicker way than regulation or certainly passing laws can be. >> tonight a look at the federal
7:13 pm
trade commissions enforcement role in dealing with privacy on the internet with republican commissioner marine ohlhausen and julie brill. "the communicators" at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> next a look at the medicare program that allows recipients to get and if it's through private health insurance plans. james cosgrove of the government accountability health care team as a guest on this martian -- this morning's "washington journal." we talked to him for about 40 minutes. >> host: of course we have far more money segment where we look at a specific government program and what it is costing and this week we are joined by james cosgrove of the government accountability office. to talk about experimental medicare program that sets around $8 billion over the next 10 years and mr. cosgrove's before we get to your recommendations on this program, can you explain what the quality
7:14 pm
bonus payments demonstration was designed to do? >> guest: happy to. if we could set back just a minute. i'm not sure that everybody understands what the medicare advantage program is. private health plans have participated in medicare almost from the beginning of the program, and currently we are about 25% of all beneficiaries have chosen to receive their benefits from private health plans instead of the original program. about 2008, the agency that runs medicare implemented a star bonus system for these plans, one star being the lowest in five stars being the highest, sort of like a hotel rating, that would help beneficiaries identified the high-quality plans. the affordable care act put some financial incentives in place for plans to achieve faith
7:15 pm
highest star ratings, but this demonstration, this test, this experiment, was a three-year test and it was designed to put even greater financial incentives for plans to achieve high marks on quality ratings. >> host: let's talk about the quality bonus payment demonstration then and what it actually does. this from your report and we will put it up for our viewers. they prove to give unassisted plants with a three to three-point five-star rating, accelerates loan this phase ends for plans with four stars and i will get you to explain that and increases the size of the bonuses from, for 2012 and 2013 so explain that a little more for us. >> guest: it expands on what the affordable care act has done a lot. the affordable care act would have given bonuses to plans that received a four-star or a five-star rating.
7:16 pm
those plans currently enroll about 30% of all of the beneficiaries who are enrolled in these private health plans. what the centers for medicare and medicaid services did, they expanded it so that plans have only have a three-star rating, which is just average, could qualify for bonuses as well. and by doing so, over 90% of plans that are enrolled over 90% of the beneficiaries in the program would qualify for a bonus so essentially everybody is getting a bonus. the other thing that he did it did was it greatly increased the size of the bonus. in 2012, under the original legislation, the very large plans might have qualified for a bonus that would range from 2 million to $30 million in 2012. under the demonstration program, the largest plans would qualify for bonuses that would total
7:17 pm
two, three or even $500 million. >> host: so your report actually recommended cutting this demonstration and i will read the language from that report for you. the secretary should cancel the medicare advantage quality bonus payment demonstration and allow the medicare advantage quality bonus payment system established by the 2010 patient protection and affordable care adds act to take effect. a drastic step. why did you come to that conclusion? >> guest: well, the facts just presented themselves. canceling the demonstration obviously in 2012 is over in terms of the demonstration. you can't stop 2012 and he couldn't stop 2013 or 2014. this demonstration estimated to have cost $8.35 billion over 10 years. a demonstration is supposed to be able to test something.
7:18 pm
at hhs, the department of health and human services, have the authority to put in place new payment innovations to test them to see if they could increase the efficiency and the economy of the program without it diversely affecting quality so it is supposed to be a test that can be evaluated. what we concluded after looking at all of the evidence, but not only was this very very expensive, it essentially was poorly designed and there was no way that the program could be evaluated and essentially at the end of the day you would know whether this program worked or not but we would have spent over a billion dollars. >> host: your thoughts and comments on these kinds of demonstrations for mr. cosgrove. the colin on the republican line (202)737-0002 and the democratic line (202)737-0001 and the independent line (202)628-0205. let me redo some of the republican criticisms of this program and what they read into
7:19 pm
why it was done on cnn money from last month. republicans who have been criticized in the program for months report issued in late april accusing the abundant demonstration of abusing its power. they say the program merely send extra money to providers to cushion medicare cuts expected under the new health care law. republicans say the program is a political move aimed at keeping seniors happy. senator orrin hatch a utah republican of the senate finance committee and coincidently the person who asked for this report said the report calls into question whether health and human services even has the authority to launch this program. the white house does not have the authority to greenlight spending on whatever per by matt wants. hatch said in a statement. that all again right after this report was issued on april, i believe 23rd come is that when it was? late april? this also from the "washington examiner" and editorial in the washington examiner criticizing
7:20 pm
this effort. they call that obama's a billion-dollar medicare advantage slush fund, calling it a blatant attempt to stave off approval with obamacare in an election year with a temporary patch runs out. millions will be shot by skyrocketing medicare premiums and possibly the deterioration of care. by that time obama will never have to face voters again. we want to give you health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius' comments defending this program. you can listen to those now. >> mr. chairman we have no intention of canceling the project and i think the good news is that medicare advantage programs are stronger than ever and actually cheaper than ever. we have more seniors enrolling in medicare advantage this year than ever before. we have more programs in the marketplace than ever before. medicare advantage programs when the affordable care act was
7:21 pm
planned paid at 114% of fee-for-service medicare so the affordable care act over time produces that overpayment. we are now down to 107%, so it has come down in the medicare health program that not only benefits the seniors choose those options because they pay lower co-pays, but they have more options and for the first time ever, since medicare advantage pro- grams were created, we have instituted a demonstration to inform seniors about quality. husk of james cosgrove of the government accountable the offices health care team director, i take it you disagree with her statement that she is going to continue this program. >> guest: we recommend the program be canceled. essentially we think that it's a lot of money and the purpose of the demonstration is to test something and we don't think you can test anything.
7:22 pm
>> host: we are taking calls on the subject, steve on the independent line from phoenix arizona this morning. good morning, steve. >> caller: hey good morning. i have a question. why are we paying any money to these other companies? did the other companies provide a subservient service, people ought to leave them. we are we spending the money to offer the incentive to increase the fare from the other companies? >> host: when they put this program together what was the justification? >> guest: the quality bonus demonstration? well, we are going back in 2008, the quality starts, going from one to five stars or simply to help beneficiaries who usually have many many choices in some markets. if you are medicare beneficiary might have a dozen plans to choose from. if you are in a large group area like i am a, new york, you might have 50 different plans to choose from. so there was always an effort to
7:23 pm
try to get beneficiaries more information. how do we choose the best plan? they came up with a ranking system based on certain data and quality measures, and giving the plans want to five stars. that was the original thinking, that plans would have an incentive and they could use that in marketing. plans that spent the money to offer a high-quality product might give four or five stars and that would attract market share. that was the original thinking and then the affordable care act was implemented and just gave it more teeth. it put a little more money on the table for the higher-quality plans. >> host: let's go to greenburgh pennsylvania on the democratic line. good morning, they keep. >> caller: good morning. i don't know why that we don't make the companies pay to get their star. why should the government pay for their rating? they should earn that and also the elderly are also just in
7:24 pm
such poor shape, paying out of their pockets. if you go to a pharmacy, you will see the elderly paying dollars and dollars and hundreds of dollars for their medications i have witnessed it and it's a shame. >> host: mr. khobar 01 i was reading a report he seemed to indicate that the star rating system wasn't taken too seriously before this program was put into place. >> guest: well, that is true. i think it's difficult to know exactly how beneficiaries make decisions in terms of when they are picking a plan. frequently they may rely on the advice of one of their primary health care providers, or maybe one of their neighbors, or one of a plan marketing sales representatives. it didn't look like the stars themselves were driving people
7:25 pm
to the highest quality plans so i think that was wide there was more interest in trying to put some money on the table to encourage plans, to increase their quality. >> host: la grange texas is on the independent line. good morning, mike. >> caller: good morning. let me explain what these advantage programs do. they are excellent programs. the problem is they can pick and choose any county, any area of any state that they don't want to do business in. or u.n. role in it and it costs a little money in that county. you can't have it any longer. we are canceling that county and you are going back to straight mitigator. if i remember correctly, the obama administration wanted to do away with medicare advantage completely so that medicare was fair for all. i think medicare advantage
7:26 pm
should be offered to everyone, or no one. i was on it last year and for one reason or no reason that i know of, it was just canceled. i had to go straight back to medicare. my brother, who lives in a county north of me, is still on the same program. absolutely nothing for his medicare advantage program and i can get it at all. i think it should tiefer everybody or no one. >> host: mr. cosgrove you are not making a judgment on medicare advantage is to be clear for the demonstration program, correct? >> guest: that's right. medicare advantage is a very important part of medicare. one out of four medicare beneficiaries are enrolled. enrollment is absolutely -- the caller is absolutely right. it is not immediately available across the country. virtually everyone has the opportunity to join the plan but
7:27 pm
not everyone does and some people at many many more choices than others. that simply reflects the fact that this is private sector, the private health plans contract for various areas and they essentially within limits get to pick the areas that they service, and then they don't have to serve either other parts of the state or the counties or for whatever reason they have. maybe they can't establish a provider network very easily in that county. so it does mean that you can have one beneficiary living in a county, one county away from where there are a lot of choices than that person has very few choices. >> host: a handy chart from medicare advantage, penetration by state. the dark blue is the most penetration, the red is the least penetration. is there a reason that regionally a lot of the midwest
7:28 pm
states do not see a lot of penetration? >> guest: well some of that, there is a variety of reasons. some of that is historical reasons. the west coast for example is a much longer history with using managed care plans. it also has to do with what payment levels are. the plans find it easier to do business where the potential payment levels are the highest, and so that is why you will see the greatest concentration of plans in places like los angeles or miami or new york city, where payment rates tend to be relatively high. >> host: barbour is on the republican line from crockett, texas. good morning barbara. >> caller: good morning. i sure do like your show. my question is, i giving us these bonus or bonus points, i know that my mother and dad, their insurance all combines the whole thing all at one time and it seems like while this may
7:29 pm
care insurance costs go up? >> host: the bonus payments? >> caller: they came in and they took over their medicare part also so the doctors don't have to file two different things. and they have combined their medicare, and he was talking at the first of a program about the private entities coming in and they get bonus points. >> guest: that raises interesting questions because the 8.35 lien dollars does come from somewhere, and it's coming from the medicare trust fund. which means that for the three out of four individuals who are in traditional medicare, who are not getting any of the benefits of being in one of these private plans, for the three out of four beneficiaries who are just in original medicare, they are
7:30 pm
going to pay a slight increase because they are helping to fund the 8.35 lien dollars. medicare is financed by beneficiaries premiums and it is set at roughly 25% of the part be caused. so anything that raises, increases back, will increase other beneficiaries premiums. ..
7:31 pm
>> we did not address whether hhs had the authority to do it. we did have our legal staff looking into the issues that are related to that about what authority hhs has to conduct these types of demonstrations. >> guest: we have a test from florida. go ahead, you are on. >> caller: i am a senior citizen. i ran a small business.
7:32 pm
i ran a deck dental practice all my working life. the one thing that sticks out in my head from coming from that perspective is why can't the government address the waste and fraud in the medicare? i don't understand when you hire someone to do a job, and then you give them a bonus for doing the job that they were hired to do, if they do it, my head can't wrap around the concept. i would like you to answer that. >> guest: certainly. we are certainly concerned, as is the inspector general. others are concerned about waste, fraud and abuse in the entire mentor program. it is a huge program that involves many, many people building the program.
7:33 pm
about a billion claims being submitted each year for payment. it is a challenge. since 1990, gal has listed medicare is one of the high-risk areas in the government, simply because of its sheer size and scope and its susceptibility to waste, fraud and abuse. there is certainly a number of different efforts, partly in the affordable care act to try to increase crackdowns on this. if anybody has any specific knowledge of something that you are concerned about in terms of either waste, fraud and abuse, there are places that you can report it if you go to the website order to be suspect fraud, gao has a place on its website where you can report that as well.
7:34 pm
>> caller: one of my major concerns, according to u.s. office of budget management, we spend over $100 billion per year on women who have no intention of getting married, they get a feel free to bring one child after another into the world. this tax is medicare and medicaid to no end. people who have worked all their lives, they use the funds to take care of these people. i am so sick of a spineless congress trying to patch up a program that is abuse like this come instead of having the integrity to put an end to this type of behavior. why are we subsidizing mass? >> host: we will go right to meredith in mississippi, talking about the medicare advantage program and the demonstration
7:35 pm
project that is costing the government, expected to cost about $8.5 billion over the next 10 years. pam is waiting on the republican line this morning. good morning, pam. >> caller: good morning. i have blue cross blue shield and my husband has blue cross blue shield. we have a high deductible of 7500 and a high deductible due to liver cancer. my question is that he goes on to some kind of policy, medicare supplement policy, this next august. we have noticed. he is six years old. we have noticed that here in mississippi, for the same blue cross blue shield plan that is a supplement, it is three times higher, and they do an underwriting and they charge him about three times more than it he was over 65. they do everything from underwriting as far as height,
7:36 pm
weight, et cetera. i'm curious as to why this is? why is it there is an extreme difference between somebody over 65 years old and under 65 years old. >> host: pam's comments are in-line with the same comments that commons that we had on twitter from james sanders. the beneficiary between different areas of the country as well, not just the age, but area. >> guest: that is true. there is a tremendous variation of many beneficiaries. it many beneficiaries live in areas where they can join a medicare advantage plan, even with drug coverage and pay no additional premium other than the part b. premium that they do receive. even though medicare's payment plans aires by the benefits unction beneficiaries ages, to the medicare beneficiary themselves, once you're on the
7:37 pm
medicare advantage plan, the payment doesn't change, regardless of health status order their age. and it frequently is much cheaper than some of the medigap type policies. it is a way of saving money. there is blessed cost-sharing. they often get coverage for vision and dental. they also have some protection against cross catastrophic cost. >> host: we are talking with james cosgrove, the federal government's watchdog. we will go to mike on the democratic line from seattle washington this morning. >> caller: hello, how are you? >> guest: great. >> caller: let me back up a little bit. there are approximately 300 million in the united
7:38 pm
states, and that would include senior citizens, it is that correct? >> guest: yes. >> caller: and the proposed plan to the insurance companies over a 10 year period is a .5 billion? >> guest: a .35 billion. >> caller: if we were to save $1 billion for every citizen in the united states come in times that times 10, it would amount to 3.2 or $3.4 billion, correct. >> guest: go ahead with the map. >> caller: if we were to do $1 million for every citizen in the united states, times 10, it would be about 3.2 or $3.5 billion. >> host: what is the point you were trying to get to? >> caller: the point is that i am not quite sure if this is the best use of money -- what are
7:39 pm
the american-built content people getting for the $8.5 billion? are they going to get quality -- that is kind of ambiguous, it doesn't make sense to me. i am a democrat, i will vote for barack obama. >> host: give him a chance to respond to this. you don't think that we are getting a return on investment, that was the point of your report, correct? >> guest: we don't think that this is a well setup demonstration. the plans are getting the bonus is based on how they do, achieving certain levels of quality on things like patient
7:40 pm
satisfaction and clinical measures and contract measures. the money itself, though, likely is being used by the plans to finance additional benefits. the money is not being, in a sense, wasted, but it is being directed. the beneficiaries who are in these plans, the members of these plans, may maybe getting extra benefits because of this bonus demonstration. the caller is right. this is a lot of money. as i said, earlier on, the affordable care act, which also had a quality incentive program in place, the large plans would have received something like maybe between two and $30 million in 2012. instead, some of the largest brands under the demonstration program would receive two, three, four, and over $500 million. >> host: we have robert on the independent line from indiana.
7:41 pm
>> caller: thank you for c-span. i appreciate you. >> host: go ahead. >> caller: i have a simple question. it seems to me that almost all programs that the federal government institutes, we have terrible cost overrides. i wanted to know if inflation factors are included in the expenditures of the federal government program. >> guest: if an inflation factor is included? yes. payments are adjusted each year. they are largely benchmarked against spending in the original medicare program. it is called the fee-for-service medicare program. traditionally, we have paid these private plans more than we have paid providers and original programs. over time, there has been an effort to ratchet that down. earlier on when we heard secretary talking, we heard her
7:42 pm
talking about $107 for every hundred dollars that is spent in the original program. that is an improvement. she is absolutely correct. that is an improvement from some of the historical trends in recent years. we are getting spending back in line with the traditional program. >> host: terri from lafayette, indiana. good morning, terry. >> caller: good morning. i would like to mention the waste of money that is spent on the drug war. it says in this article that i read that half of the money goes towards the drug war. >> host: you have any thoughts on the medicare advantage program? we will do another segment later on the drug war, i am sure. >> caller: $400 billion a year wasted on the drug war. my stepfather was a state parole officer. thank you for the call. we are going to do the discussion on the topic.
7:43 pm
we go to deborah from richmond, virginia. >> caller: hello? >> host: okay, my name -- go ahead and. >> caller: my name is connie. i paid for my health care. i paid $74 a month. i was on medicare for quite a long time before i got it. the extra cost was so much. i did not know about managed claims system. i had paid -- then i was paying like $64, now i pay $74.
7:44 pm
i asked them when they were talking about cutting it out, i called and asked what might be cut out, and they told me know because i was on advantage here, but i was on call, so i paid for mine. does that have anything to do with what you're talking about? on this program? >> guest: all medicare advantage programs -- all the plans qualified for the bonus. that is what we are talking about today. one of our concerns is that virtually all of the plans will receive a bonus. in terms of the variation in cost and loan plans, open enrollment and the time that most beneficiaries can switch plans, it occurs near the end of the year. that is a great time to look and see what your options are.
7:45 pm
if you go on medicare's website, that is, you can look for something called the personal plan finder or have someone help you do that. there is a great resource that will show you what plans are available to you, how much they cost, and what they cover. there is also other resources available that can help you make decisions. there is the state health insurance counselors, and again, those phone numbers for those in the contact information is all available for medicare. >> host: you can also see the report on the quality bonus payment on the gao's website, it we have richard on the line. >> caller: good morning. i have a comment to make here. i believe that what we need is individual help. universal health care. good morning.
7:46 pm
>> host: richard, turn on your tv. we can hear you. >> caller: good morning. i believe what we need is universal health care. insurance companies, i believe, work with a 10 to 12% profit. all of the money goes towards health care. >> host: thank you, richard. thoughts from new hampshire this moment. we go to brady from columbus, ohio. good morning, brady. >> caller: first of all, i thought it was kind of rude to cut off one of their customers talking about the health care system. it was a legitimate question. why is it when americans pay for the multibillion dollar medicare programs that it keeps going up,
7:47 pm
when it should be going back down. and to actually find these pharmaceutical companies, they find them all around the world and manufacture themselves to be so high, also, when dealing with the actual hospitals, if you didn't have coverage, you would pay 30,000 dollars for a harp program, but if you have insurance, through an actual workplace, you pay 90%, but then the actual hospital takes a loss of 50%. where is all that money going to if it is not going to the hospitals when they are charging 30,000 dollars? and your insurance company shopping that?
7:48 pm
>> guest: there is certainly a large difference between what many hospitals and providers charge, and what they are ultimately played by insurers. that is certainly one of the advantages that individuals have from having insurance coverage. if they are paying out of pocket, they can pay much more than they would pay if they were covered from insurance. the insurers are large and have market power and can negotiate much better rates. >> host: mr. james cosgrove, explained a little bit about why this demonstration was such a big project. from your report, it is by far the biggest demonstration that has been conducted on the health care system. >> guest: we look at all the medicare demonstrations that have taken place since 1995. we identified 85 of them. if you total all the money that was spent on those 85 demonstrations, you come up to a little bit more than $5 billion.
7:49 pm
that is just for -- that is adjusting for inflation. we are talking about apples to apples. it is seven times larger than the next most expensive demonstration that medicare has run since 1995. >> host: why were they allowed to do such a big demonstration? why did it have to be a national demonstration and not regional or on a smaller scale? >> guest: that is one of the things we are concerned about and we point out in the report. by doing it nationally, there is no comparison group. usually when you do some kind of a test coming you have an experimental group and you have a control group. nbc are there any differences. we did not with health and human services. their response was to have a comparison group and they offer that they could look at the changes that will place.
7:50 pm
what they have is a medicare cost rent. these plans are in scope with a few states within the country. they enroll only a few hundred thousand beneficiaries. a paid very differently. they are really not a comparable group. hhs said that we can also could also look at medicaid plans as a comparison group and commercial plants. we just didn't think about was a comparison that would allow hhs to be able to determine at the end of the day, whether these enhanced payments for quality actually accomplished anything. >> host: we go back to the phones. good morning, cynthia. >> caller: good morning. i have a question. i had five and a half years, where i really struggled with the system to get disability. which i would rather be capable than be like i am now. during that time, i was receiving medicare or medicaid,
7:51 pm
i'm sorry. and i had no out-of-pocket costs whatsoever, any time i got a prescription or went to the doctor. now that i have gotten medicare, it is costing me 90 some dollars per month, plus, you know, the percentage that you have to pay out. why isn't that reversed? because medicaid is just too easy for people to get? i thank you. >> guest: medicaid is a distinct program for medicare. medicaid is a fully federal program. the federal government determines the benefits. it pays the bills. medicaid is a state and federal partnership. the states have flexibility in how they said the benefits, who is covered, and how much they pay. in return from the federal government does support the medicaid program by payments to
7:52 pm
states. but you'll see a wide variation from state to state, and the cost and coverage of benefits. >> host: before we let you go, james cosgrove, one more call from nick on the independent line. good morning, nic. >> caller: good morning, thank you for having me on. my question is when you look at the scope of funding that is being directed towards medicare advantage, i am a insurance agent in the state of wisconsin. i work with supplements and advantage plans. there is such a tremendous lack of knowledge and education on how medicare advantage plans truly work amongst the miniature and fisheries. i asked myself, why isn't the federal government willing to educate people on medicare advantage plans. i run across so many beneficiaries but do not understand the type of risk they're taking they are taking on these plans, because they are not guaranteed renewable.
7:53 pm
medicare can restrict at in any time and the consumer is taking on such a tremendous amount of risk. the government is really not making a commitment to educate people on these additional risks they are taking with them, within the medicare advantage program. >> host: we have two minutes left. >> guest: i think the federal government has made efforts to get information out there for individuals to make comparisons and understand what they are getting out. there are comparison charts that are available to beneficiaries on the website, for example. medicare helps fund the state health insurance counseling
7:54 pm
program, which can offer advice. they are not going to make recommendations to choose this thing or that, but they can talk about some options and some of the trade-offs. all that said, i will admit that medicare advantage is a complicated program. it is made more comforted by the fact that many beneficiaries have lots and lots of choices, choices can appear to be similar, but maybe they differ a little bit in some of the coverage or the cost sharing. it is hard. i think many individuals need a place to reach out, and that might be either a sibling or maybe a son or daughter that can help them make these decisions or to look for some of the official sources of information, like the state health insurance counseling programs. all of that information is available in the medicare handbook that the beneficiaries get or on the website. >> host: james cosgrove, the government accountability
7:55 pm
office, this information is available at >> senate majority leader harry reid is scheduled for a procedural vote on sender -- gender-based pay determination. >> the bill, broadly speaking would provide new tools for women who believe that they have been victims of gender-based pay discrimination. one of the specific components of the measure, which could affect a lot of people, is that would prohibit employers, generally from penalizing employees who disclose information about their salaries or perhaps inquire about the salaries of their coworkers. as for the boat itself, it is not expected to prevail. it is a procedural vote on taking up the bill.
7:56 pm
it seems on both sides it is not going to get to the 60 votes that are needed on tuesday. >> so we expect about to fail, why is senator reed pushing forward with their? >> well, from the push that has been put on from the white house and from senate leadership, it looks like this is largely an election year item. we have seen that people are calling on governor romney to take a stand on the issue. they also want to put the democrats -- the democrats want to put some republican vulnerable states who are up for reelection in a tough spot with this vote. >> who is supporting this bill and why are they saying it is necessary? >> the supporters are democrats in this case. barbara mikulski, the senator
7:57 pm
from maryland who is the longest-serving woman. they may say that the lilly ledbetter act, which was one of the first items of legislation that became law under president obama, only just a narrow question about the statute of limitations for gender-based pay discrimination, and broader measures are needed to bring the rate of pay up to where men are. >> who is opposed to the measure? continued also the reasons might be. >> one of the reasons that the business community has is that there are several provisions of the measure that they seem to say go far beyond where you would necessarily think you would need to go to get so that men and women are paid the same amount of money. there are some concerns about possible litigation costs that
7:58 pm
could be a result of this as well. >> senate republicans say they have their own bill. how does this differ from the democrats mr.? >> we have not seen all that many details on what the republican counterproposal might be. apparently because we don't expect that's because this is a procedural vote on tuesday for it we don't expect that they will actually be able to bring a counterproposal to the floor. >> what impact might this issue have as the campaign season gets into full swing? >> well, we have been seeing democrats for the last couple of months, really promoting a narrative about the one women, trying to ensure that the female vote, which traditionally votes democratic, continues to do so, and in boxing governor romney and others on that issue. this is another step in the
7:59 pm
process. i would not be surprised to see more of those as the year progresses could thank you. >> in a few moments, a conversation with members of the federal trade commission. in half an hour, a form on the state of state of the union. after that, we focus on europe with an unlimited council discussion with the future of the euro. >> we continue in boston this week. up next, interviews with members of the federal trade commission. we want to introduce you to one of the federal trade commission's new commissioners. this is maureen ohlhausen on your screen. she is a republican member of the five-member commission. maureen ohlhausen, you have been on the board for about a


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on